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Washington State University

Seattle Skyline at sunset

All great cities want to grow their economies, steward their environment, improve the health and safety of their citizens and insure that governments and non-profits create sound and equitable policies.

WSU’s Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension (MCARE), puts ‘the people’s university’ to work for Washington’s cities, bringing world class expertise to help inform data driven decisions and implement change that works. Utilizing applied research, MCARE’s work is outcome driven and problem oriented, geared toward developing practical knowledge and place-based solutions to alleviate modern world problems.

Headquartered at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett, and with over 30 years of collective experience working with the complex socio-political landscape of the Puget Sound region, MCARE staff serve as the conduit between metropolitan decision makers and WSU faculty expertise across the state. This project-based and client-centered approach gives MCARE the flexibility to respond quickly to emerging metropolitan needs, and help build capacity to create sustainable solutions for the future.

For more information, please visit the Washington State University Extension website.

Metropolitan Areas in Washington (definition of metropolitan) with links to the local Cooperative Extension office:

MSA = Metropolitan Statistical Area
(#) = Rural-Urban Continuum Code


Greater than 1 million population (2)

MSA: Portland – Vancouver – Hillsboro OR/WA

Principal Cities: Vancouver
MSA Counties: Clark, Skamania

MSA: Seattle – Tacoma – Bellevue

Principal Cities: Auburn, Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Lakewood, Redmond, Renton, Seattle, Tacoma
MSA Counties: King, Snohomish, Pierce


250,000 to 1 million population (4)

MSA: Bremerton – Silverdale

Principal Cities: Bremerton, Silverdale
MSA Counties: Kitsap

MSA: Kennewick – Richland

Principal Cities: Kennewick, Richland
MSA Counties: Benton, Franklin

MSA: Olympia – Tumwater

Principal Cities: Olympia, Tumwater
MSA Counties: Thurston

MSA: Spokane – Spokane Valley

Principal Cities: Spokane, Spokane Valley
MSA Counties: Spokane


Fewer than 250,000 population (7)

MSA: Bellingham

Principal Cities: Bellingham
MSA Counties: Whatcom

MSA: Lewiston ID/WA

Principal Cities: Lewiston
MSA Counties: Asotin

MSA: Longview

Principal Cities: Longview
MSA Counties: Cowlitz

MSA: Mount Vernon – Anacortes

Principal Cities: Anacortes
Mount Vernon
MSA Counties: Skagit

MSA: Walla Walla

Principal Cities: Walla Walla
MSA Counties: Columbia

MSA: Wenatchee

Principal Cities: Wenatchee
MSA Counties: Chelan, Douglas

MSA: Yakima

Principal Cities: Yakima
MSA Counties: Yakima